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February 20, 1932


JAMA. 1932;98(8):643. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730340051015

A competent writer1 on diet in disease has recently ventured to express the conviction that "the dietetic error that has killed more patients than any other is the neglect of administering enough water." He adds that in acute disease a highly colored urine is a reproach to the physician and the nurse; a dehydrated skin and tongue are danger signals. Few persons who deal with the functions of the living body, whether in health or in disease, realize that water constitutes more than 70 per cent of protoplasm, the structural basis of organic life. In health, water is not merely incidental in this connection—merely present as ballast or a reserve in the way in which fat may accumulate in the body. Water constitutes the medium in which the chemical changes of metabolism occur.2 As water is continually lost to the body through various paths, by way of the

Du Bois, E. F.:  Diet in Disease ,  Bull. New York Acad. Med. 7: 502 ( (July) ) 1931.
Rowntree, L. G.:  The Water Balance of the Body ,  Physiol. Rev. 2: 116 ( (Jan.) ) 1922.